Rod Aasen didn't think he was going to get the Tiger Woods treatment the minute he stepped onto the first tee Saturday.
But that's what being the first golfer to play a round at the $21 million Chambers Bay Golf Course can do for you.
Aasen, a 44-year-old Boeing worker and father of two from University Place, knew he'd be part of something special when he walked onto the Scottish links-style course.
Greeters and caddies congratulated him for being the first to take a whack at No. 1. Then he found himself talking to television news cameras.
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It was only a week ago that he got an e-mail informing him of his tee time.
As Aasen approached the tee, he noticed a crowd of about 70 people awaiting his historic swing. Reluctantly, he stepped up and measured his shot.
But the tension - which he and the crowd seemed to feel - was too thick. He backed away, prompting some laughter and applause from onlookers.
Aasen again stepped to the tee, measured his shot and swung. His ball rolled to a stop 195 yards down the fairway, a little to the right.
Not bad, he later admitted, considering all the pressure.
"This will be one of those moments you talk about for a long time, " he said.
And with that swing, Aasen helped usher in a new era in Northwest golf.
The first official day at Chambers Bay Golf Course provided golf enthusiasts with a sense of the new and the wow Saturday.
The course's best was on display - from its posh clubhouse to its lime-colored fairways to its breathtaking views of the water.
More than 100 white-shirted caddies could be spotted on the course.
Even the shuttle that driver Terry Rice transported players in offered a new-car smell.
"I've heard on at least three occasions from guys that the course has exceeded their expectations, " Rice said.
Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg - who had the vision to convert an aging gravel pit into a golfer's oasis - said he enjoyed watching the reactions of the first-timers.
Ladenburg hit the ceremonial first tee shot around 7 a.m. It was a blast that traveled about 300 yards.
His next Chambers Bay-related task will be developing the property's North and Central Meadow park areas, which are scheduled to open next summer.
Folks looking on Saturday from the Grandview Trail - many of whom got only a nosebleed-view of the golfers - cheered whenever anyone had a nice hit, Landenburg said.
"I just love the interaction with the trail, " he said.
Gunnar and Sonja Horgen of Tacoma took in the view from above the majestic course, but they'll soon be playing.
At $60 to $100 a round for Pierce County residents, Gunnar Horgen's four children pitched in to buy him a round for Father's Day.
Horgen said he wanted to practice before playing the intimidating course.
"Maybe in August or September I'll come out, " he joked.
While the onlookers enjoyed the view, the golfers appeared to find their wonderland. With little wind blowing and slow greens, they could be overheard marveling at the course.
Jack Mushallo, of Tacoma, golfed in Scotland earlier this year, but even he was impressed with the Pierce County layout.
"Sitting up here, looking down doesn't do it justice, " he said while chatting with friends and having a drink after his round.
He and other golfers commented that Chambers Bay, a course that prohibits motorized carts without a doctor's note, provides a healthy walk for those not used to four-wheeled vehicles.
Mark O'Brien didn't mind the walk, nor did he mind the eagle he bagged on the 13th hole. The nickname for that hole, coincidently: Eagle Eye.
The Tacoma man admitted the elements Saturday were calm. But even the best golfers will find the course challenging in the rain or wind, he said.
"The conditions could change daily and be tough if you're a pro, " O'Brien said.
Or even if you're a regular golfer who's got the first tee time.